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Solicitors letter - should I reply?

(15 Posts)
kittybiscuits Fri 20-Nov-15 12:58:55

I have received a letter from a solicitor alledging that I am withholding contact between my children and their father (I am not). It requests a response and asks me to agree to mediation. I have had brief advice from a solicitor about responding to the content of the letter. It is clearly a preparatory step to going to court.

My question though, is should I reply to this letter at all. It's on a solicitors letterheaded paper. The address is a PO Box in a town where the company doesn't have an office/base. The signature on the letter is electronic - eg 'Smith Solicitors' in a handwriting font. No named person. My reply, should I send it will contain personal details. Do you think I should reply? How do I even know if this is an authentic legal practitioner? Thanks.

PirateSmile Fri 20-Nov-15 13:05:52

are you saying that your ex is seeing the dc but you've received a letter regarding contact? In which case, that's odd.

A quick google should tell you that if the firm is legitimate or not. You could always phone them to check or contact the local law society. One thing I wouldn't recommend is simply ignoring the letter.

JaneAustinAllegro Fri 20-Nov-15 13:07:53

phone the firm where it is based, and give the reference on the letter - they'll tell you if it's kosher or not. Digital signatures are quite common

kittybiscuits Fri 20-Nov-15 13:14:10

Yes - they've started to refuse to see him because of his behaviour. They are 18 and almost 12. He blames me.

I will ring and check before sending a reply. The PO box is off putting to me. Thanks

ImperialBlether Fri 20-Nov-15 13:16:35

Before you phone them, look up their phone number on Google and see whether it's the same. Then call the number online. It sounds as though there's a bit of fraud going on, doesn't it?

kittybiscuits Fri 20-Nov-15 13:24:51

Thanks - it seems a bit fishy!

aginghippy Fri 20-Nov-15 13:28:03

IIWY when I phoned the firm, I would also ask for the name of the solicitor dealing with the matter. If they would not name a person I would be wary.

kittybiscuits Fri 20-Nov-15 13:29:28

I checked. It's kosher.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 20-Nov-15 13:37:43

I would respond acknowledging that you have received the letter and setting out that you are happy to facilitate contact for the younger child should they wish to see their father but at the current time they do not because of X, Y and Z incidents. As regards the older child they are legally an adult and so you are free to make their own choices independent of your wishes or preferences.

I don't think it helps to be seen as obstructive or unreasonable so be as helpful and reasonable as necessary. Would mediation be helpful? Or has he been abusive towards you in the past? If that is the case I would add that in the letter along the lines of "as Ex accepted a caution for assault against me on DD/MM/YY/as the police have advised me not to contact Ex/as there is currently an injunction prohibiting Ex from contacting me/as there is a history of abusive behaviour from Ex towards me [or whatever] I understand mediation would not be appropriate in the circumstances".

kittybiscuits Fri 20-Nov-15 14:03:33

Thanks Moving my draft is in keeping with your suggestions. He was very verbally, emotionally and financially abusive but little/no evidence. We did medation previously. He lied constantly. There is a memorandum of understanding but he has broken every agreement made. I will agree to shuttle mediation so as not to be obstructive but nothing good will come of it.

Marilynsbigsister Fri 20-Nov-15 18:35:57

That's all you need do OP. Give the bare minimum of information. As already advised without being obstructive . What does the 12 yr old think ? Do they have any interest in seeing him.? I would be tempted to save yourself the cost of mediation (on the basis he didn't stick to any of the last agreements ) and let him take you to court and the child can have their wishes heard If the 12 yr old really doesn't want contact. After all you really can't mediate on 'no'...However if they would want some contact with father either direct or indirect then mediation may be worth a try. .

kittybiscuits Fri 20-Nov-15 21:19:15

Thanks Marilyn. I would have liked to decline mediation but I don't want to be branded uncooperative. The almost 12 year old doesn't know if she will want to see her Dad but I would think she might want to keep the option open. She said, ideally, she would ask me if and when she wants to see him and I could request contact. He can't accept that it's the children and not me saying no.

babybarrister Sat 21-Nov-15 20:28:23

There Is no jurisdiction over an 18 year old at all.

In the case of a 12 year old not wanting to see her DF you can go to mediation but it seems to me that what is really needed is for Cafcass to interview her about her wishes and feelings

kittybiscuits Sun 22-Nov-15 06:40:00

Thanks babybarrister. I understand about the 18 year old. Neither of them is sure what they want. They are just troubled by seeing him in such a mess. They want him to sort himself out. But he didn't before and judging by the letter, isn't going to now. It's complicated and I don't see how mediation can do justice to the situation. I will see what response I get to my letter. If the basic facts are disputed, as I would expect, then I won't spend money trying to do mediation for a second time with someone who lives in a fantasy world.

kittybiscuits Wed 25-Nov-15 22:57:17

The mediator called tonight to see if I am willing to do mediation as my ex is 'keen to try this as an alternative to court'. I said that my decision about mediation will be determined by the response to my letter to ex's solicitor. I said he is a habitual liar and lied throughout previous mediation and ignored all agreements made then. I was having a panic attack because she called out of the blue on my mobile in the evening. He hasn't provided his address to me but he can pass my mobile number onto a third party without asking confused

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